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Wailing Mother, Inconsolable Father & Tear-Drenched Siblings; The “Dark” Story of Kashmiri Militant Families

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On 5th December, a picture went viral of a cute “Kashmiri Militant”, the 14-year-old teenage boy holding an AK-47 in one hand and a knife in another. Mudasir Parray, a resident of Khankah Mohalla of Hajin town along with 16-year-old Saqib Bilal had gone missing from their homes on 31 August this year after an encounter took place in Hajin town in which three foreign militants were killed. Both the families were in shock after they heard that both Parray and Bilal have left their homes.

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Five days after his picture went on social media holding an AK- 47, he was trapped in a gunfight in Mujgund area on the outskirts of Srinagar and was killed in a fierce long gunfight along with his local friend Saqib Bilal and Pakistani militant Ali Bhai.

Kashmiri-Militants

The family of deceased militant Mudasir searched him from post to pillar, after he left his home to play at the local Eidgah. The family is stunned as he was living his life normally with his family and his friends. Family members did not believe Mudasir had joined militancy till his picture holding with AK- 47 and a knife surfaced on the social media. Earlier they lodged a missing report in Hajin Police Station after failing to contact him.

Soon after his picture went viral, his family made vehement appeals to him to return home. I appeal to him, wherever he is, to come back home as soon possible. Don’t leave us like this,” his mother wiling day after his picture holding AK-47 went viral. Mudasir is survived by his parents, a sister and a brother.

Militancy has been growing in this North Kashmir’s Hajin town since the killing of Militant commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. It wasn’t the kind of family you’d expect to produce a militant,” a local said. His family says he was never inclined towards militancy however his friends maintain that he was connected with militants since the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016.

Fareeda Begum, the mother of Mudasir, said that she never wanted separation from her son like this. I was unaware about his joining militant ranks after his missing in August, had I been aware of this, I would have never allowed him to go out of the home because I didn’t want a separation from my son like this, she said, as tears rolling down from her eyes. 

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Mudasir’s family is living in a single room with heart patient mother Fareeda, father is a chronic patient with 16 stitches in the back, handicapped brother and a little sister.

Fareeda his mother, is still in grief and shock that his son has been killed. Mudasir was not my son only, but a hope, lone bread earner who would also work as a labourer on a part-time basis to help the family financially as her another son is handicapped.

When Mudasir left home in August, I was on way to Sopore and asked him to accompany me to Sopore but Mudasir refused and silently. It was the last time I saw him, she said.

Soon after he went missing, I went from pillar to post, I searched for him from dawn to dusk, but Mudasir was nowhere. I am still waiting for his arrival, she said while wailing.

When Mudasir’s body reached home, his mother Fareeda didn’t believe that she met his son with blood and bullets after three months. Fareeda while wailing said in Kashmiri Doudh haa cheey wyn praaczan lour’uy, waey, Baa karay ghoor ghooro”. The milk is still on your lips, Let me cradle you, You are still to drink my milk, Let me cradle you.”

Maimoona, his sister in corner of his single room broke into tears, said that I was so happy that Mudasir will afford my all expenses and will fulfil my all dreams as my another brother is handicapped, but all dreams crushed.

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Mudasir was first arrested during the 2016 unrest in a Pelting case and was lodged in a police station Hajin for over a week, he was later released after counselling, said one of his relatives. He feels that Mudasir joined the militant ranks after the killing of their close relative Abid Mir in Sopore who was killed in an encounter. He believes that was his turning point.

Locals of Khankah Mohalla remember Mudasir as a shy but courageous young boy. He was very humble and everyone loved him in the village. We don’t believe even today that he is dead because we all loved him, they said. Mudasir is perhaps the youngest militant to have laid down his life, the neighbours said.

SSP Bandipora Sheikh Zulifikar Azad said that he joined Militant ranks soon after three Foreign Militants were Killed in a gunfight at Paribal area of Hajin town. What can you do? We tried our level to get him back, but that never happened.

Hajin town was once home and base of dreaded anti-insurgency force Ikhwan, a home-bred counter-insurgency militia, led by Kuka Parray, But the time is long gone and now Hajin is considered as a hot-bed of Militants.

The author is a Freelancer Journalist based in Kashmir and can be mailed to at Khuehamiayaan@gmail.com. Picture courtesy Sajid Raina.

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US Troops Withdraw From Five Bases in Afghanistan As Part Of Peace Deal With Taliban – Officials

The US has withdrawn from five military bases in Afghanistan. Afghan media outlet Tolo reported the five U.S. bases that closed are located in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces, in southern and eastern Afghanistan. 

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The US has closed five military bases in Afghanistan as part of an agreement with the Taliban, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. The official, who wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed the bases were in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces.

According to the deal, the US had 135 days to fulfil its pledge to reduce troops to 8,600 from nearly 14,000 in the conflict-hit country, which ended Monday.

The agreement was signed Feb. 29 and is aimed at reducing violence in hopes of fostering bilateral talks between the Afghan government and the extremist group to end the war-torn nation’s 18-year conflict.

The Taliban agreed not to allow al-Qaeda, Daesh or any other militant group to operate in areas they control, as part of the pact.

“The U.S. has worked hard to carry out the 1st phase of its commitments under the Agreement, including to reduce forces & depart five bases. NATO troops have come down in proportional numbers,” Khalilzad said on Twitter.

Afghan media outlet Tolo News reported the five U.S. bases that closed are located in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces, in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The larger U.S. bases in Bagram, located outside Kabul, and Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan remain open.

Despite the reduction in U.S. soldiers as part of the pact, violence between the Taliban and Afghan forces has spiked in recent months, according to the Afghan government.

Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, US President Donald Trump has reiterated his resolve to “bring our soldiers back home” from Afghanistan, publicly questioning the purpose of the U.S. military presence in the war-torn region of Afghanistan.

Donald Trump reemphasised his objective amid reports that the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “is well ahead of schedule” outlined in a historical pact signed between the US and Taliban to end the nearly 19-year-old war.

“We are acting as a police force, not the fighting force that we are, in Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. After 19 years, it was time for Afghan authorities to police their own country, he wrote.

Under the U.S.-Taliban pact, Washington had promised to reduce its military strength in Afghanistan from about 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July before withdrawing all soldiers, along with several thousand partners in a NATO-led non-combatant mission by mid-2021.

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Pakistan Affirms Full Support To Turkey On The Eve Of Defeated Coup In Ankara

Pakistan, he added, “stands by Turkey and has been taking all possible steps to support Turkey’s efforts to address the threat posed by Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO),” the group behind the defeated coup.

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Pakistani PM Imran Khan has reaffirmed his country’s support and solidarity for Turkey on the eve of the July 15, 2016, defeated coup. Pakistan and Turkey share a historical bond and both nations are viewed as ‘iron brothers’. 

“Four years ago the Turkish people displayed their characteristic resilience and legendary bravery to defy the forces of darkness targeting Turkey’s peace and stability as well as its democratic institutions,” Imran Khan said in his message for Democracy and National Unity Day, a public holiday in Turkey.

“The saga of human courage and determination witnessed on July 15, 2016 was indeed an inspiration for millions across the globe and will be remembered in the annals of history.”

Drawing parallels with Khilafat Movement, Khan said the spirit of Turks on that day was similar to what “motivated our forefathers not to hesitate from making any sacrifice for their Turkish brethren a century ago.”

In 1918, South Asian Muslims struggled to save the Ottoman Empire from falling.

“We join the people of Turkey in honouring the martyrs and supporting their families,” the Pakistani premier said.

Pakistan, he added, “stands by Turkey and has been taking all possible steps to support Turkey’s efforts to address the threat posed by Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO),” the group behind the defeated coup.

The speakers of lower and upper houses of parliament also expressed solidarity in separate statements.

“We always have, and will continue to stand by Turkey in the face of all challenges,” said Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

Pakistanis stood by Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016, and will continue to do so, said National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser.

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With China In Mind, India To ‘Urgently’ Acquire Heron Drones, Spike ATGM From Israel

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India plans to acquire for Heron drones and Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) from Israel under the emergency financial powers granted by the government according to reports the ANI.

The Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are already in the Air Force, Navy, and the Army and are being used extensively at the moment by both Army surveillance and Target acquisition batteries and Air Force in the Ladakh sector.

“There is a need for acquisition of Heron UAVs to add to the existing fleet of these drones for meeting the requirements of our Air Force fleet. We are planning to place orders for these UAVs,” government sources told ANI here without specifying the numbers to be procured.

The forces are also working towards inducting an armed version of the UAV, as well as upgrading the existing fleet into combat UAVs under the ambitious ‘Project Cheetah’ spearheaded by the Indian Air Force.

On the other hand, the Indian Army is planning to acquire additional Spike ATGM (anti-tank guided missiles) which were received by it last year from Israel under the emergency financial powers granted to the services.

Last time, the Indian Army had procured 12 launchers and 200 Spike missiles. “We are planning to acquire more of these anti-tank missiles for tackling any threat from the enemy armoured regiments,” the sources said.

Spike is fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead and is designed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Earlier as EurAsian Times reported, the Indian Army was given the green light to purchase the Israeli ATGMs after the February 2019 military conflict between India and Pakistan following Balakot airstrikes.  The decision to procure the 240 ATGMs and 12 launchers were reportedly made during the five-day biannual Army Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

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